How Can I Help Prevent My Parents From Having A Fall?

How Can I Help Prevent My Parents From Having A Fall?

1For one in three of us here in Australia, our parent or relative aged over 65 years will have at least one fall every year. Given our ageing population, with a longer life expectancy, combined with less stability, stiffer joints and more brittle bones in our later years, the risk of falls – and their potentially severe consequences – is only set to increase. 

 

Here at Sole Motion, we’re big advocates for the importance of fall prevention – and the important role that podiatry plays. But don’t take our word for it – numerous studies have been conducted that show that podiatry interventions (treatments) reduce falls for in older people who live in their own homes. Today, we’re discussing the real impact of falls, how podiatry can help your family, and what you can start doing today to promote the health and safety of your loved ones.

 

Falls In Our Older Years: The Facts

If you’ve never had a loved one experience a serious fall, it’s easy to think of it as a very fall-down-get-up-recover-back-to-normal cycle. The reality is very different. Falls don’t just result in potentially longstanding and painful injury, but can also result in hospitalisation, function and mobility loss, fear and even death. Broken bones are not an uncommon appearance with falls, with fractures of the hip, femur and other bone or joint pain making it difficult to remain mobile and independent.

 

When it comes to foot problems, these are proven to be associated with the occurrence of falls. Risk factors include foot pain, restricted movement (especially at the ankles), bunions, reduced muscle strength in the feet and footwear-related factors3

 

The Role Of Podiatry In Falls Management

2As podiatrists that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of the feet and legs, we offer a number of solutions that help promote mobility, stability, confidence in everyday life, and importantly, a reduction in falls risk:

 

  • Debriding any corns, callus and cracked heels that may cause pain and discomfort that alters gait patterns
  • Stretching and strengthening programs to help address any muscle weakness and tightness that may contribute to instability and an increased falls risk
  • Custom foot orthotics to help improve stability, foot alignment and foot function
  • Footwear provision or recommendation that promotes stability and healthy foot function, instead of hindering it

 

Both foot and ankle exercises, as well as orthotics and footwear, have been shown to have beneficial effects on balance and falls in aged individuals living in their own home. Education is another key component of what we do, working with both patients and their families to both implement strategies and improve understanding of why and how falls occur, and how to help prevent them.

 

Start Reducing Your Family’s Falls Risk Today

The unfortunate reality is that if your family member has had a fall in the past six months, they are more likely to fall again. To help protect your family, we’ve jotted down some ideas to help reduce the risk of falls starting today. 

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  • Wearing non-slip shoes and socks
  • Wearing suitable footwear that promotes stability both inside and outside of the home
  • Booking in for a falls risk assessment with your podiatrist
  • Staying active with exercise if it is medically safe to do so
  • Ensuring the right medication is being taken to help promote bone health and strength, such as vitamin D and calcium, if indicated by a doctor
  • Checking and managing any vision deficits that may be affecting balance or coordination
  • Regularly monitoring for changes in the feet and legs that may or may not be related to other problems like diabetes, which impacts both the sensation and circulation at the feet
  • Working with an occupational therapist to manage hazards and reduce the tripping risk inside the home

 

Unsure what your risks are and how to best manage your feet to promote mobility, stability and confidence?

Our team at Sole Motion would love to help. Our experienced podiatrists understand the importance of staying mobile and independent – and work with many patients and families to help manage the risk of falls while improving foot comfort and helping with painful foot problems. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 1300 FXFEET

 

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